With winter now firmly behind us, hopefully we will all be spending more time in the great outdoors.
For many of us this means enjoying walks wherever the mood takes us! And eating the right things to keep your energy up means you will get the most out of your walks.
Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares three great tips for getting the most out of your diet to ensure you’re fuelled and ready to enjoy!
Pack in the protein
Most people think that they need to load up on carbohydrates before doing any exercise as this macronutrient provides energy. Carbohydrates certainly do provide energy and are important but getting your metabolism working correctly will help provide sustained energy to support your walks.
Keeping blood sugar in good balance is crucial to maintaining energy levels throughout the day and, of course, during your walks. This means eating sufficient protein at every mealtime, balanced with some good fats too. For example, starting the day with an egg-based breakfast with avocado and a slice of whole grain toast, would be the perfect pre-walk meal. This breakfast provides a great balance of protein, good fats, and carbohydrates. If you support your blood sugar at the beginning of the day, it sets up the metabolism for the day ahead.
Alternatively, whipping up buckwheat pancakes with some blueberries and natural yoghurt would be another great start, again providing a good balance of macronutrients.
As a general rule, it’s important to include protein at every mealtime, whether that be from animal or vegetable sources. For example, meat, beans, lentils, dairy, fish, and eggs are all great choices for that all-important metabolic balance.
Keep it whole
This means eating whole grains. These are grains that haven’t been refined, therefore retain their natural nutritional profile. Importantly, they contain plenty of B-vitamins which the body uses to extract the energy from the food we eat, making a great partnership. Key foods to include in your diet are wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, and oats, together with buckwheat, quinoa, and rye.
If you’re heading out on a longer walk and need to take a packed lunch with you, then a rice or quinoa salad is the perfect choice. Simply cook the grains the night before, leave overnight in the fridge and then add some tuna, sweetcorn, chopped tomatoes, peppers and onions for a superfood salad that will keep energy levels up. This lunch also provides a good balance of macronutrients and will keep blood sugar levels in check.
Resolve to make eating whole grains rather than refined ‘white’ grains part of your life. For those slightly resistant to change, your palette will quickly adjust to the more defined flavours and textures. Eating more whole foods will also help banish sugar cravings.
Hydration is key
Just as important as the food you eat, is ensuring your body is fully hydrated. When we are feeling low in energy, or perhaps are suffering with brain fog and irritability, it’s often because we need to drink more water.
Have you noticed that the more tea or coffee you drink, the thirstier you become? This is because caffeinated drinks don’t hydrate the body and only provide ‘false’ energy in the form of a quick high. Many people barely drink any water throughout the day. Consequently, they may not notice their thirst but instead suffer with low energy. This is because the body is inwardly adapting to the ‘norm’, not that it doesn’t require water; the body will still be dehydrated at a cellular level. From a nutritional perspective, sometimes the simplest of things can make the biggest difference to how we feel (and look). Aim to drink 1.5 – 2 litres of water daily.
Additionally, if you’re walking in hotter weather, it’s imperative that you take plenty of water with you. Start the walk well hydrated, continue sipping throughout the day, and you’ll find that you can cover off those miles so much easier.
So, follow these simple rules to fuel your walks and enjoy a more energised life overall.
FOR MORE GREAT DIET AND LIFESTYLE ADVICE:
Sign up to receive our blog and get a weekly dose of the latest nutrition, health and wellness advice direct to your inbox.
Follow us on Twitter @feelaliveuk for nutrition, lifestyle and well-being tips.
Visit us at www.feelaliveuk.com for the latest offers and exclusive Alive! content.
Follow and Chat with Suzie on Twitter @nutritionsuzie
For everything you need to know about vitamins, minerals and herbs visit our sister site Herbfacts
All images: Shutterstock